Phoenix House

Harley Graham Architects

Phoenix house project is located within the heritage precinct, in the oldest part of Byron and is a 1900s Queenslander that was relocated from Brisbane. The site sits across from the local sports fields and beyond, on the north, is native vegetation followed by the bay.

The house was stripped back and reconfigured to accommodate a family of three. It was raised 1600 millimetres off the ground to allow for storage of bikes, surfboards, and all services (water tanks, solar batteries, heat pumps etc). The unusual height from the ground and the large staggered timber steps allow the front deck to become a ‘stage’ to the park. The veranda acts as an interface between the park and the dwelling, creating a strong connection to ‘community’

The spatial initiatives include a ‘hero’ northern skylight over the living space that defines the lounge area and a large three by three metre sliding door pulls back to reveal a framed view of the park. The project is a refined piece of joinery with a carefully curated material palette. A monolithic blockwork pool, and a series of planters spill with native vegetation, anchoring the lightweight house to the site. Adjacent to the house is a small one-bed studio which is a prototype for a series of future ‘tiny homes’. It is 40 square metres and 2.8 metres wide internally, but feels deceptively big with nearly four metre high ceilings.

Phoenix house bridges the nexus between the old and new ‘Byron Lifestyle’. It reflects on the past while also providing cues on how we can build sensitively into the future The interface with the park has been a great result. The house has become a very social space with ‘old school’ scenarios of people popping in while they ride or skate past. Phoenix house is about people and their interactions. The architecture provides the stage.

Photography by Andy Macpherson

Fittings & Fixtures: Astra Walker